Tommy Yau, head of Fitness Education Singapore, provides a comprehensive training program for runners and explores the forgotten areas of the body with regard to injury prevention.

Tommy Yau

Did you know that over 80% of runners will, at one point in their running career, sustain an injury? It’s not that we’re not designed to run. In 2004, scientists at the University of Utah and Harvard University hypothesized that the ability of humans to sustain long-distance endurance running may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human form.

Runners should be prepared for the physical challenges of any race, so they may perform their race with more energy, stamina, and efficiency – and with less risk of injury. The goals of a comprehensive training program for runners should encompass an increase in:

·        core strength (through whole-body integration training)

·        body-wide stability (the ability to have steadiness at all body joints – ‘super stiffness’)

·        stamina (energy system development)

·        functional strength (three-dimensional, full-body resistance training)

·        endurance (circuit training)

·        agility and coordination (movement-based training for effective transfer)

·        speed (through quick and rapid movement training)

·        intensity (higher metabolic and energy demand).

ViPR™ running training must occur in various body positions and in all three planes of motion – frontal, sagittal, and transverse (put very simply: top, down, sideways) – for effective transfer to function.

A look at some often ignored areas of the body will lead us to not only prevent common injuries, but improve running performance and keep runners on the trail. ViPR training can help condition these areas using integrated/triplane loaded movement to elicit movement strength.

There are three body parts we need to focus on: 1. the foot; 2. the glutes (i.e., butt); and 3. the abdominals. We will explore exercises for the foot here.

ViPR foot training

Many runners ignore their feet when assessing their performance. Biomechanically, the foot, when properly functioning, will absorb and redistribute forces in the body. Like many structures, it first receives energy from the ground. The foot needs ground reaction to properly function. It absorbs the forces of the ground to load. Think of this the same way you think of an elastic band being stretched or a shock being coiled. A stretched elastic band or coiled shock stores potential kinetic energy. Moreover, a stretched band or coiled shock also decelerates the force being put into it. So, a properly working foot will store energy and dissipate ground force. Training the foot is simple – perform the following ViPR exercises in a standing position to use the floor for ground reaction.

1.     Step-over squats

Step Over Squats


· Use the front carry hold (as shown).

· Maintain a tall back, which is critical during this exercise (to ensure the hips are properly loaded).


· Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, looking straight ahead.

· With one leg planted firmly, take the opposite foot and perform an in-turn step (as shown) – ensure the knees follow the line of the feet.

· Next, perform an out-turn with the active foot and plant – perform a squat from that foot position.

· Step in-turn again and repeat the sequence rhythmically.

2.    Staggered stance with medial low reach

Staggered stance with medial low reach


· Maintain a tall spine throughout this movement and load through the hips.

· Only choose a range of motion that can be controlled.


· Start in a standing position, and reach to the opposite side of the forward leg (along the frontal plane).

· As the reach occurs, ensure the back remains tall and you flex and adduct from the hip (as shown).

· Return to a fully standing position before initiating the subsequent rep.